“I hate my life…” you may feel yourself saying in your head or aloud. You may be the parent of a child who feels this way and expresses it or you may feel as though they are keeping it bottled inside. The feelings of loneliness and isolation that comes with this expression are serious and not to be dealt with lightly; therefore, it is important to talk to your child about this, or if you are the child, to talk to a parent or someone you feel comfortable with, like a teacher or family member. The first step to healing is being able to admit that there is something wrong, and since you are here, you just took a big step toward getting the help you or your child needs.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes the victim to have persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in things they once felt passionate about, and it is a concern of many children and teens. Growing up can lead to many of the symptoms associated with depression; however, for some children these thoughts and emotions are not temporary and can lead to later feels of lack of excitement and unhappiness. Therefore, it is important to understand what you feel and why, and if you are a parent, to talk to your child in order to make it known that they are not alone.
Although the tips for parents and the victim of depression are separate, it is important to note that coming together and dealing with these problems is key to a healthy healing process. Communication and sensitivity are vital when dealing with your child who may be suffering from depression, and honesty and trust are vital if your parent or loved one approaches you about this tough subject.
Tips for Parents
First, it is important to identify the difference between when a child says “I hate my life” when you just grounded them for skipping curfew, and “I hate my life” when there is no seemingly, tangible reason for the reaction. A child or teen will have these feelings or hating his/her life if he/she is angry or hostile, sad or hopeless, restless or agitated, or for a variety of reasons, and the important key is to first figure out what exactly is the matter.
1. Identifying the Problem
Knowing that there is a problem is the first step to identifying it. Look for unusual behavior in your child. You know them best and are one of the most likely to notice if they are acting strangely. Another way is to ask to the child’s friends if they have noticed your child acting differently than they usually do. This can help to understand if the problem is in the home or outside of it. However, oftentimes, children or teens will try to hide their feelings of despair or detestation from their parents and their friends, so it is important to talk to your child directly. It is hard to understand what the problem could be without talking directly to the child or else you run into the problem of inferring situations that might not be true or else passing their behavior off as just “going through a phase.”
2. Talking to your Child/Teen
Come to your child with an open heart and mind. Be gentle with your child and try to go in with a plan on how to approach them in the best way possible to meet the needs of your specific child. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, by 18, about 11% of adolescents have a depressive disorder, and it important to catch it quickly so that needed help can be given. It is also twice more likely that a female will admit to having these problems than a male. Make sure to approach your child without judgment or accusation and be sure that he/she feels comfortable and not pressured. Being persistent and demanding can lead to your child hiding themselves even more, and this can be dangerous. So, it is important to let your child know that you are available to talk even if they do not want to at the moment.
3. Dealing with the Problem
If your child comes to you for help, it is important to comfort them and let them know that there is nothing wrong with them. Make it know that they may be going through things that they may feel incapable of dealing with, but with time and effort, they can be back to how they were while working to solve the underlying problems that they are dealing with.
4. Seeking Outside Help
According to the American Family Physician, medication and/or counseling can be the key to your child’s recovery. Talking to someone outside of their family, such as a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, can really help a child deal with the problems they are facing without the fear of being judged by a parent or family member, and it is relieving to talk out problems with someone who can give positive, professional feedback.
Tips for Children/Teenagers
Dealing with feelings of hating one’s life is extremely tough. It can come with wanting to be alone and feeling alone even if surrounded by a sea of people. You do not feel as though you are happy with anything, even things that once brought you joy, but you do not have to fight through these emotions alone. What you are experiencing is only temporary if you get the professional help and guidance you need to deal with your problems, so it is important to seek help with an open mind and heart and allow people to help you.
1. Noticing the Problem
It is difficult growing up and growing up can come with seemingly abnormal feelings of sadness and anger; however, if you find that these feelings become excessive and that you feel as though you cannot handle it, you may be suffering from depression. Signs of depressions could be constant feelings of sadness, anger, irritability, feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness. It is important to know that you are not alone with these feelings and that approximately 20 million people suffer from a mood disorder in America, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It is also important to know that these feelings can be helped with proper care, so it is important know that there are ways to be treated and that there are people who can help you.
2. Seeking Help
It is important to first tell a parent or guardian about your feelings. It may be hard to go to someone, especially a parent, and confess how you feel, and it may even be hard for you to say out loud that you think you need help, but it is important that you do so. Talking to a parent, or someone your trust like a teacher or school consoler, can help set in motion the work that needs to be done in order for you to begin your process of healing. It is also important to remember that these feelings you have are not something to be embarrassed about and that just telling someone else about them can relieve a lot of the burden.
3. Talking to Yourself
Apart from seeing a professional about your feelings that may make you think “I hate my life,” you must also work on your relationship with yourself. Getting to know yourself and what makes you happy can really affect a person’s sense of self and happiness. Often, children and teens must cope with the stress of their school, friendships, loves, parents, sports, hobbies, and futures, and this is all a lot of pressure at times; however, learning to understand yourself and having a good relationship with knowing yourself as a person, without all the concealment of what other people expect and want, is a key in developing a healthy relationship with your life. Finding out what you love and what you want will help you feel content with knowing that you are making yourself happy.
4. Loving your Life
Do what you love and love what you do. Children and teens especially face difficult challenges that might be overlooked by many parents, and it definitely should not be. Balancing an assortment of difficult obstacles while growing up can make you feel as though you are not doing what makes you happy, and you might be feeling as though you have no control over your well-being. It is important to talk to your parents first so that they can provide the needed help that you require, and talking to a professional can also release some of the feelings that are causing you grief. Loving yourself and your life is very important, and dealing with your feelings sooner rather than later can make your future more open with possibilities. Relax and know that you are not alone in your troubles and that there are people who are happy to help you on your journey from saying “I hate my life” to “I love my life,” but the first step is in you coming to terms with those feelings and having the strength to admit you need help.